I like to make fun of Tom Cruise movies because sometimes when he’s in a trailer, it’s Cruise overload.  MI4 kind of looked that way and I had been turned off the whole franchise after the first one.  But what brought me to this one was the director, Brad Bird.  There’s no denying this guy’s talent.

That isn’t to say Cruise isn’t good in certain roles.  He usually at his best when he’s a jerk, like in Collateral Damage or Rain Man or Magnolia.  But unlike a lot of other Cruise action movies, this one felt more like a team rather than War of the Worlds, which came off more like “Tom Cruise vs. the Martians”.

The action scenes, from the opening up until the climax are really well done.  And you really get the sense that Ethan Hunt (Cruise) has been put through the ringer in this one.  Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Paula Patton also get good scenes, so the movie isn’t overwhelmed by Cruise.  Probably the weakest element is the villain, who is just “crazy”.  He doesn’t have much personality and isn’t even in the film all that much.  There are a few scenes that, when you think about them later, won’t make much sense but these are kept to a minimum.

The politics of it are kept pretty cartoony.  In a classic Bond movie, it was easy to just blame in the Soviets.  Now, the US is so heavy handed all over the world, it’s military so overly funded, I didn’t really have a problem believe that Ethan and his cohorts could be left an entire cache of computers, weapons and gadgets in a train without the US noticing.  Bird plays it smart, making the IMF weaker rather than trying to beef up the villain.  It also ties in well to MI3, if you’ve seen that.

Overall, I give the movie 7.5 keggers out of 10.  While the plot and villain are standard, everything else is slick and fun.  It is what it is, a blockbuster full of eye candy you won’t have to think about.  It’s definitely worth seeing in theater.  Bird makes full use of the screen.